editors letterBURRA Foods has been a huge fillip for the town of Korumburra.
And the vast majority of people in the town support Burra Foods, including many of those affected by the buffer zone saga.
But, even after reducing the scope of the proposed buffer last week to less than 227 metres from the plant, and also reducing the likely impact of the planning controls, it remains unfair to the 22 homeowners and other landholders who will be affected by it, if the council votes to adopt the Planning Panel’s recommendations on February 25.
In fact, if anything, the reduction in the size of the buffer zone makes it more unfair to those who will continue to be impacted and less effective as a planning control measure – typical really that a bureaucracy could come up with such an outcome.
The obvious thing for council to do on February 25 is reject it.
It’s just too bad that they’ve spent so much time and money on it and caused so much grief.
Going forward, however, it would be reasonable for the shire to introduce a development overlay across land in close proximity to the factory that hasn’t already had its zoning changed to ‘Residential’ or some other sensitive use.
This would give fair warning to the owners of that land, who presumably purchased it for its ‘Farming’ use, that any change of use in the future, to say ‘Residential’, would trigger certain conditions associated with residential amenity.
As for land that has already been zoned ‘Residential’ close to the factory, the horse has bolted on that one and council should have thought about introducing planning controls before agreeing to the rezoning and subdivisions.
The introduction of any retrospective planning controls should fairly result in financial compensation but there’s been no talk of that.
The only thing that might be helpful for someone looking to build a new home, residential project or other development in the area, close to the factory, would be a set of guidelines about how to minimise the impact of any odour, noise or fallout from Burra Foods in the event of a mishap.
If it was possible for council to pass a policy that this non-binding information be provided to those looking to build in the area, it would achieve much of what the ESO8 overlay was looking to do in the public interest, without impacting property values and their saleability.
Like the ESO8 overlay, however, it would do little to change practices at the factory.
The main concern of Burra Foods and council, in proposing to introduce the Environmental Significance Overlay, is the potential for more houses and even such things as a retirement village or more intensive residential projects to be built in the area without regard for the operations of the factory. But the penalty for Burra Foods’ comfort falls unfairly on those who have already paid for the right to build on and even subdivide their land.
In the absence of extensive rewriting of the planning schedule associated with the ESO8, to reduce its impact further, it shouldn’t go ahead.
It’s pretty obvious that the factory is there and reinforced by a policy of providing helpful project information to developers, it should achieve the same result as an ESO, but without the unfair burden that the buffer zone would inflict on a relatively small number of people.